Fundraising goal reached for Illini football center


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — The $30 million fundraising goal for the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center is now complete after another multi-million dollar gift announced on Thursday. Greg Heckman donated $3.1 million to the DIA, with $3 million of it going directly towards the completion of the football center.

“The experiences I had at the University of Illinois opened up the world and provided me the foundation and opportunity to achieve many of my goals and dreams,” Heckman said in a statement. “As a long time Illini supporter and fan I am so pleased to be part of such a phenomenal project and to give back to the university that gave me so much. I have always been proud to be from Illinois, the University of Illinois and the hard working Midwest.  I hope it helps everyone who walks through the lobby of this facility achieve their athletic and academic goals and dreams.”

“It has been a pleasure getting to know Greg and learning about his passion for our Fighting Illini,” Director of Athletics Josh Whitman said in the press release. “I greatly appreciate his commitment to our vision for Illinois Football. His gift pushes us past the benchmark we set for the building, which will stand for generations as a testament to the generosity of our Illini family. Greg is a natural leader, and his leadership has never been more evident than in his support of this transformative effort.”

The $79.2 million dollar project will give Illinois football new locker rooms, meeting spaces, weight and training rooms, coaching offices along with several other amenities. The project is expected to be completed in time for the 2019 season.

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